Tag Archives: Alias Grace

Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood

Sadly I don’t think Margaret Atwood and I are meant to be. I was really excited about The Handmaid’s Tale but then it didn’t really do it for me and now Alias Grace hasn’t really been a winner either. It’s a shame because she writes tales that should be perfect for me and so many people I know (and whose literary opinions I respect) have such wonderful things to say about her but it just doesn’t seem to be working out for us. Anyway, let’s turn to Alias Grace

I too this picture in May but I only finished reading a couple of weeks ago.

I too this picture in May but I only finished reading a couple of weeks ago.

It took me FOREVER to read this book (7 months to be precise). Partly because it was far too heavy to carry around with me and partly because I just didn’t get it most of the time I was reading.

A friend from work who had previously lent me two books that I really enjoyed loaned me her copy of Grace with the accolade that “it’s the only book she’s ever read twice”. So I was devastated to realise I didn’t like it when I started reading. I think a large part of my early dislike was due to the format of the writing. The first chapters are presented as letters between characters we don’t yet know and newspaper reports about events which happened prior to the book’s beginning. I find that this kind of format is tricky to get right and quite often I’m turned off by this style of writing which is what happened here.

Happily a large part of the book is actually written as prose from the point of view of Grace, a young woman who finds herself (wrongly?) imprisoned for the murder of her employer, or one of the doctors who is trying to establish her guilt or innocence. This is where the book took off for me – especially in its poignant accounts of Grace’s past sufferings and by the end I was actually gripped. I’m not going to give it away because I guess it’s at the back for a reason but when I turned the final page and read the author’s note the book took on a whole new level and for once I really wish that I’d seen that first.

I find it hard to say whether or not I’d recommend this book but on balance I’m glad I read it, take from that what you will!


Bout of Books – Wrap Up

So I’m a whole week late with this post but good things come to those who wait right?! Also I was like a social butterfly last week, dancing from engagement to engagement – there were bridesmaid dresses to be bought, emigrations to be toasted and softball matches to be won which left precious little time for blogging. But enough of all that here’s my progress for days 6-8.

Day 6 (Friday): I needed a new tube book for Friday and I chose Mr Mercedes by the incomparable Stephen King. I had made myself a promise to ration King’s books but with IT also sitting on my bookshelf it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon! Unfortunately, due to yet another social engagement, I was only able to do any reading on my morning commute so I only got through 43 pages on Friday.

Day 7 (Saturday): Saturday was an absolutely glorious day so I took Mr Mercedes to a local park and lay on the grass in the bright sunshine to read about some dark goings on. I was there for several hours, got my first sunburn of the year (note to self, buy suncream) and COMPLETED Mr Mercedes (363 pages). It was different to any of King’s books that I’ve read before as there was no supernatural element at all, it was a straightforward detective novel but with King’s effortless storytelling and guy-next-door characters.


Mr Mercedes goes to the park

Mr Mercedes goes to the park

On Saturday night my childhood dreams came true when I went to see S CLUB 7 at the O2 in London. It was like the biggest and bestest S Club karaoke you can imagine and I loved every second of it (but didn’t get any more reading done).

Day 8 (Sunday): Sunday was another beautiful day so I returned to my favourite local park this time with Alias Grace for company. Alas the warm sun on my back coupled with the excitement of the previous day and the fact that I’m still not really loving Grace meant that I didn’t get much further than 33 pages before I fell asleep! After that laziness won out and I was done with my very first read-a-thon.

Alias Grace on the water

Alias Grace on the water

Which gives my totals for the week:

100 Days to Victory: 189 pages COMPLETED

Alias Grace: 263 pages

Mr Mercedes: 405 pages COMPLETED

Total: 857 pages

And so, while my main goal, which was to finish Alias Grace, goes uncompleted, I am significantly further along than I had been and there’s only 140 pages left to go. But not only that, I’ve found that I’m actually enjoying Grace much more than I had been which was one of the secondary goals of my read-a-thon.

I said right back at the start that I don’t feel like I’ve really been enjoying reading lately and that I’ve been struggling to find something I can get my teeth into but I think that Bout of Books has helped me get over that for which I am incredibly grateful!